EU set to impose fresh sanctions against Russia: Borrell
The European Union (EU) says its ministers have reached an agreement to prepare fresh sanctions against Russia over the ongoing war in Ukraine.
Speaking to reporters on Wednesday, EU’s Foreign Policy Chief Josep Borrell said the foreign ministers, at an informal meeting, agreed to push ahead with the new sanctions.
He said the ministers’ political decision was made to apply new sectorial and individual measures against Moscow.
After being briefed by Ukrainian Foreign Minister Dmytro Kuleba, the EU ministers agreed to task their teams with preparing the eighth sanctions package that would target “more relevant sectors of the Russian economy and continue targeting people responsible for the war of aggression in Ukraine,” Borrell said. He added that the ministers also agreed to ramp up weapons supplies to Ukraine.
The EU’s 27 foreign ministers are in New York for the annual gathering of world leaders at the United Nations.
Borrell’s comment came hours after Russian President Vladimir Putin announced a partial military mobilization in the Russian Federation due to begin on Wednesday. Putin said he was taking necessary steps to protect Russia's sovereignty as the West is looking to “weaken” and “destroy” his country.
“We are talking about partial mobilization, that is, only citizens who are currently in the reserve will be subject to conscription, and above all, those who served in the armed forces have a certain military specialty and relevant experience,” Putin stated in his televised address.
This is Russia’s first wartime mobilization since World War Two.
Russia’s military operation cost Ukraine $1 trillion: Kiev
On Thursday, Oleg Ustenko, an economic advisor to Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky, said in terms of “direct and indirect costs,” Ukraine had suffered “somewhere close to $1 trillion” in damages.
The figure was equivalent to five times Ukraine’s annual GDP before the war, Ustenko said at an event hosted by the German Council on Foreign Relations in Berlin.
The Ukrainian official said the destruction and displacement caused by the conflict was a “significant problem for public financing” in his country.
According to Ustenko, despite severe cuts to government spending, the Ukrainian government has been running a deficit of five billion euros (about $4.9 billion) per month since the beginning of the conflict.
Kiev expects the gap to narrow down to about 3.5 billion euros next year, and its allies have rushed to pour aid in Ukraine to help Kiev fill the gap, with the World Bank, the EU and the G7 countries pledging billions in cash.
Ustenko said the Ukrainian government expected the economy to shrink by 35 to 40 percent this year, adding that the drop was the “deepest decline in our GDP that we have experienced since 1991” and the founding of the modern Ukrainian state.